The Reds aren’t as good of a team as the Cubs are, but Cincinnati has an advantage for Friday’s home series opener against Chicago. That’s a rested bullpen because the Reds were off Thursday, while the Cubs finished a home slate with the Braves. Chicago will still be favored on Friday’s MLB Odds.
How to Bet Cubs at Reds MLB Odds & TV Info
- When: Friday, 7:10 PM ET
- Where: Great American Call Park
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Cole Hamels/Sonny Gray
- TV: MLB Network
- Live Stream: MLB.tv
- Radio: SiriusXM
- MLB Spread: Chicago Cubs -1.5 (Total 9)
Why Bet on Chicago?
This could be the debut of new Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel, who signed a few weeks ago as a free agent. Kimbrel struck out two in a 1-2-3 ninth inning Tuesday night for Class AAA Iowa in what was to be his final minor-league game before joining the Cubs’ bullpen. He was activated Thursday so Kimbrel might have debuted then but you know the Cubs don’t want to wait too long to get him MLB action and probably prefer it be a high-leverage situation.
Kimbrel, whose fastball reached 95 mph Tuesday, had made three previous appearances for the Iowa Cubs. He allowed only two hits in the four total appearances, including a solo homer for the one run he allowed (with four strikeouts and a walk). Kimbrel’s fastball has sat in the 95-mph range along the way. That’s down from Kimbrel’s 98 mph career average. The Cubs aren’t worried.
“It’s not about results or velocity, it is getting in game shape and building that foundation,” president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said.
Manager Joe Maddon said he doesn’t plan to use Kimbrel for more than three-out save situations until at least the end of the season in games with more direct playoff implications. The Cubs’ bullpen has been a problem this season and the team has been without projected closer Brandon Morrow all season. He went down injured last July and still isn’t ready. Not clear if he will ever pitch again. His absence has left Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop to rack up the majority of game-ending opportunities to mixed results.
Cubs lefty Cole Hamels (6-2) gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out five through seven innings in a no-decision against the Mets on Sunday. Hamels cruised through the first three innings before allowing two solo home runs and an RBI in the fourth and fifth innings. He was extremely efficient, throwing 55 strikes and only needing 84 pitches to make it through seven innings. Hamels has a 1.00 ERA with 36 strikeouts vs. eight walks in 36 innings in June (five starts). Hamels on Sunday also recorded his fourth RBI of the season on a single in the second inning, one shy of his career season-high. He has three RBI in his last three games.
Why Bet on Cincinnati?
The Reds could see the season debut of a key player Friday in second baseman Scooter Gennett. He’s been out all season after suffering a severe groin injury late in spring training, but the expectation is that he could be activated as soon as Friday as he’s hitting well in minor-league rehab with no setbacks yet. Jose Peraza is expected to shift to more of a utility role with Gennett back in the fold.
Gennett has been great for the Reds in two seasons since being plucked from the waiver wire in 2017. In 295 games spanning the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Scooter has a triple slash of .303/.351/.508, good for 7.6 bWAR and an All-Star appearance last season. Gennett has 85 career home runs and 349 RBIs. Of Scooter’s 85 homers, 50 have come as a member of the Reds (spent first four seasons as a non-factor with Milwaukee). The 2019 Reds are near the bottom of the National League in batting average (14th), on-base-percentage (12th), SLG (12th) and OPS (13th) so Gennett should help.
“Nothing decided yet,” manager David Bell said of Gennett. “He’s certainly very close to joining. We’re still trying to determine it. We’re watching everything he’s doing. The last thing we want to do is rush him when he hasn’t had an opportunity to make all the movements out on the field. He’s getting close. He’s had plays when he’s had to slide. He’s done just about everything.”
Reds starter Sonny Gray (3-5) gave up two homers over five innings vs. the Cubs on May 15 but pitched well overall. During his previous start vs. the Brewers last Friday, Gray threw 109 pitches over only 4 1/3 innings as hitters fouled off a handful of pitches. He was pretty lucky to allow just four runs despite giving up 10 baserunners and the two homers.
Gray threw 109 pitches, the most he’s thrown in a start since 2016. He exited in the fifth inning after surrendering a two-run homer to Christian Yelich, which hit the batter’s eye in center field, and a solo homer to Mike Moustakas two batters later.
Cubs vs Reds MLB Betting Trends
- Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings
- Cubs are 8-1 in Hamels’ last 9 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance
- Reds are 0-4 in their last 4 games following an off day
- Cubs are 2-8 SU in their last 10 games on the road
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Chi Cubs’ last 5 games
- Reds are 6-1 SU in their last 7 games when playing at home against Cubs
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Cincinnati’s last 9 games this season
Expert Final Score Prediction for Cubs vs Reds
Chicago Cubs 6 – Cincinnati Reds 4